No thoughts

I brought my writing pad and a pen to my breakfast outing, intending to write a blog post. But as it turned out, I have no thoughts. It reminds me of my earlier days on the farm when I would sometimes sit and stare out into space; and when someone would ask me what I was thinking about I had to say… “nothing.” I had no thoughts. I wonder if that’s possible. I suppose we are always subconsciously thinking.

It’s a terrible thing for a blogger to have no thoughts! But today I feel content to just sit here and eat my food and wait for something to come to me. An inspiration. A message from God. Oh no. My food is almost gone. Panic. I know… I’ll get a piece of caramel apple pie, with whipped cream. That will prolong this “no thought” blog, or it may stimulate a thought or two.

My pie came. It’s cold. I said I wanted it hot. But I don’t want to say anything. Just like I don’t want to think anything. Am I lazy? Or am I just resting, taking a thinking break. I think the later. Oh not, I just made a thought. I decided that I am not lazy, that I am taking a thought break. That sounds logical to me.

My waiter just asked me what I was writing on. I told him and he laughed. Hey, I made somebody laugh! My day is complete.

Update: Book Reading, Book Writing

I can’t think of anything in particular to write on that would be enough for a blog. But there are a few things I’m thinking about that, put together, would give you an update of what’s going on with me. Let me first tell you about the books I’m reading. The book I just put down a minute ago is Nikki Haley’s book, With All Due Respect. It will never be a best seller, but I enjoy reading it. I liked her before I started reading it, but now even more. She has a good character and I loved how she stood up to the people at the UN over their disrespect for Israel. I also love how she stood up to Kelly and Tillerson over their divisiveness against President Trump. It was refreshing.

Another book I’m reading is a very large book, The Presidents Fact Book, on all the Presidents and also their wives. It is very interesting and kind of fun to read. It’s a book that I might read again, because it is so loaded with valuable information—a good book of history; and we need to learn history before it is lost, because so many crazy people these days want to destroy our history.

As I refill my coffee cup, let me share my thoughts on a possible next book to write. Actually, I’m just finishing my latest two books: one entitled, After the Rapture: What Happens On Earth and in Heaven After the Rapture; and another book on my life story, which I don’t have a title for yet. I’m presently self-editing them, then I will write an intro for both of them, and then go through the publishing process.

So anyway, I’m already thinking of what my next book project will be. My most enduring thought is to do a book on a book of the bible. I don’t consider myself a biblical scholar, so it wouldn’t be a book of any great depth. My thought is that I need to be more in the word, so I thought that a writing project would help me get there. One thought would be to writing on the book of Revelation. I kind of wanted to write on the Tribulation anyway, so maybe that would be a good option.

Another idea is to delve into a book like Ephesians. I know that would be quite beneficial for me—for my spiritual life. I think I might enjoy getting into the Greek, doing word studies; and also, getting into the history of those times; and just determining what the main themes of the book are. Mostly, I would hope that the writing would bring me closer to Him, and that my thoughts would be constantly on Him and His wonderful words of grace and truth.

I find that since I am more and more retired, and that my painting jobs are fewer, I have more time now to do whatever. I pray that that whatever is well spent. Retirement time can be foolishly wasted. I pray that that won’t be true of me.

Retirement: Last Things

I think it’s always wise to plan the end of one’s life—to make the best of it. I’m almost 70, so I figure that I may have close to 20 years left, or at least 10. Of course, the Lord may return before then, so I’m all in favor of that. My doctor just told me that I was doing well, except that my cholesterol is high and she wants me to take something for it. I tried to talk her out of it, to just eat better, but she wouldn’t budge. She really recommended it. Since I talked to her this morning, I talked to a friend who is my age; and he has been taking cholesterol medication, and seems convinced that it’s doing him good. Well, I’m glad I talked to him, because now I feel better about going ahead and taking the medicine—I’m not sure what the name of it is; I’ll see.

I also think that I should keep eating healthy foods and exercise regularly—going for walks mostly. I am convinced that we should be good stewards of our bodies right to the end. And I think the last days of life are when it’s most necessary to eat good and exercise. Yes, I will run the whole race right to the end without stopping.

But to keep up the physical body is just one part of it. I strive to excel in all areas, especially in those areas of ministry, where I am making an influence on others. I think my greatest influence is through my writing. So, I will keep it up. And when the time comes to completely stop my painting, I plan on increasing my writing time. That is my plan anyway.

Of course, there is always the ministry of day to day contact with others, day to day communication. That is something I think we tend to forget about or underestimate. It is hard to know what influence just a few kind words may have on someone. So, I plan on keeping good communication going for as long as I live—no complaining about anything, but always doing good for others and thanking and praising God for all things.

Retirement: TV, Movies, Walks

I debated with myself as to whether I should include this section, because it might make me look bad. I know there are some bad programs, but I try to just watch the good ones. I do it to relax and for something fun to do. Here are the TV programs that I especially like:

In the morning I watch Fox news on channel 9 (in Minneapolis). It’s mainly local news and weather, but they have a little U.S. and world news too. Every once in a while, I will also flip over to MeTV and watch Leave It To Beaver. So funny. I love all those old shows.

If I’m not working and I’m home at noon, I like to watch Gunsmoke, also on MeTV. Call me old fashion, but I love it. Matt Dillion was the best lawman ever (on TV). He knew how to keep the peace and enforce the law, and he wasn’t afraid to gun down a few outlaws to do it. Somehow, I wish we could go back to those days to take care of all the rioters we are having now. Put them all in jail until they cool off. And if they resist, shoot them! Well maybe that is a little extreme, but keeping the law is important. It’s so sad that our country, and the world, is becoming more and more lawless.

In the evening I like to watch The Andy Griffith Show—and Barny and Opie and Aunt B. Andy is another great Sheriff. Later on, I may watch Perry Mason. I can never figure out who the killer is, but I like watching Perry do his stuff.

Saturday morning is the best time to watch cooking shows and also woodworking shows. I love shows like that. Then Saturday evening I try to watch Tour of Duty, which is the best Vietnam war depiction I have ever seen; I know because I was there.

Sunday evening at 6 pm I will usually watch This Old House. That is my best show of all, even though there are so many re-runs. Those guys, all of them, are absolute experts at their craft. I admire them so much. 

I’m a movie watcher too, but I need to see some new ones. Here are a few that I really like, that I have watched over and over:

Finding Forrester. This is a great story about the friendship between a16-year-old boy and an old, brilliant recluse (played by Sean Connery). A great story. I never get tired of watching it.

Red October. This is another Sean Connery movie. A great one.

You Got Mail. This may not be a classic, but I like it. I think it was very well written, staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It has some great scenes that makes me laugh every time I see them.

Sea Biscuit. This is the best horse movie ever. I love the setting of the movie, at the time of the old Model-T cars. And the actors are so good.

I have included my walks in this section because it is also what I do for pleasure and to relax. Walking makes me feel good and I also feel good about taking photos along the way. I’m not necessarily a perfectionist as far as taking a good photo. I am more interested in trying to find beautiful scenes and all things in nature. And then, I do my best to capture them as they are. I think there is a skill in seeing what is out there. I know I miss so much, but sometimes if I look at something long enough, I will see it—something very beautiful: a tree, a cloud, a flower, or a combination of things that beautifully capture the glory of God.

Retirement: My Daily Routine

Since I have a lot more time off now, I find that it’s helpful to have a daily routine—so I don’t end up wasting my time, and spending too much time on the couch. First of all, I’ll give you the morning routine; its so important to get a good start on the day. The first thing I do after waking up and getting my feet on the floor is to take my meds: eye drops for glaucoma and my little pill for my thyroid condition. Then I turn on the set to the news. I just mainly catch the weather, the news highlights, and to see the friendly faces. And if it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I will do my floor exercises, mainly just a few leg lifts, which I do to keep my hips in shape, since I had surgery on one, and the other I hope to avoid surgery on. Then I wander into my study with a cup of tea I just made and have my quiet time: reading the bible and prayer. I’m set for the day. If I’m working that day, I will have a quick breakfast and go off to work. If I’m not working, I will usually plan on going out to eat while I also read the morning newspaper and work on my next blog post—like I’m doing right now.

Okay, since my work days are just work, work, work, I’ll give you the routine for my days off. After my breakfast time, along with the writing I do, I will always sit down and make a to do list for the day. But before I start on it, as a way of procrastination, I will check on a few things on my computer: 1) my blog sites, to see if I am getting any likes or comments; comments are especially encouraging to me. 2) I check Fox News clips to see what’s going on in the world. 3) I also check President Trump’s tweets. Most of them are very encouraging to me, and I root for him every day! 4) Bill O’Reilly has a daily news clip I like to listen to. He’s my kind of guy. Okay, I’m ready to start on my list.

Here’s the things I normally have on my list for the day, and I don’t usually spend more than 45 minutes on each item.

Dishes. There’s always dishes to do.

Writing. Writing means writing my book. I spend at least a half an hour on writing every day.

Typing blog. Most of my blog writing is in the morning with my coffee and breakfast. So, this is when I type it out.

Read. I like to read lying down on the couch, propped up by a big pillow. Right now, I’m reading The Presidents Fact Book. It sounds boring but it’s not. It gives you all the highlights on all the presidents and their wives.

Laundry. It seems like every 2 or 3 days there’s laundry.

Trash and recycling. Gotta do it, take it out.

Vacuum and cleaning. Not daily, just whenever I see the dust and crumbs getting too thick.

Books. Books means figuring my income, tax deductions, giving, making money transfers, paying bills, I like to do this once a week usually on Saturdays.

Walk. I like to go for walks a couple times a week on nice days. And I always take my camera and try to get nature pictures. I may also use the time for prayer.

My Retirement Years: Work, Writing, Kids

I officially began my retirement in 2015… so I’m five years into it. A few things remain the same, but most things are a little different. I’m intentionally trying to slow things down, relax more and enjoy what is left of my life. I’m still painting, but not as much. I sort of feel like I can work as hard as I always have, but I know I’m getting older, so I made the decision to get rid of all my tall 32 ft. ladders (I recycled them). I just work now with a 20-footer. Besides not doing high work, I have also cut down on my hours. Instead of 8 or 9-hour days, I limit it to six hours; and I also take a 3 or 4-day break between jobs. But I want to tell you that my work is just as good as it always was, maybe even better. Since I’m trying to slow things down, I’m paying more attention to details. I love my work and also my faithful customers; and I will be working just as long as I can hold a brush and do a good job.

As for my writing, I think I am writing more now than ever. I have more time to write and I think I’m even better at it. I guess the more you read and write and experience life, the better you get at it. At present I am just finishing up my book After the Rapture, and I am also almost finished with this book on my life story—although I haven’t thought of a title for it yet. What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure God will nudge me to write something. I have some ideas but nothing solid yet.

Another area of my life that is constantly changing is my relationship with my kids. They are all adults now and their families are multiplying. I already have seven, almost eight grandkids. They came so fast. Justina, the oldest of my children, age 35, is married to Rusty, and they have two kids. They live in Virginia and they both work as nurses. Anthony, age 33, is married to Crystal and they will have two kids in a month. They live in Bloomington, just a half hour drive from me. They also are both working at very good jobs. Joshua, age 31, is single. I keep telling him to remain that way—ha! He also lives fairly close to me and we get together as much as we can. Abigail (Abi) is the youngest, at 29, and she just had her fourth kid. She lives in Texas with her husband Aaron who seem to always have two or three jobs going.

I really love my kids and pray for a them, but I don’t really know them that well. I put the blame mostly on our divorce arrangement, not being able to see them except for two hours a week. But I can’t put all the blame on that. I really could have worked harder to see them more. I could have fought for it, but didn’t. I’m not real sure why. I have sort of a hermit-like nature. I naturally don’t have a great desire to connect with people, not even my own kids. It’s my own selfish nature.

But I still have hope that things will get better. I think we all are working on connecting more—texting and even calling. And I think the more we pray for each other the better it will be. I also want to make regular trips to see my kids and grandkids in Virginia and Texas. That would be good—for them and for me.

My Growth: Prophecy, Purity, Prayer

While I was busy writing books, I was also engaged in activities to bolster my spiritual growth. I think it was just after my divorce, about 1991, I heard about these local, yearly prophecy conferences. There was usually three or four speakers and the conference lasted all day long. Each speaker was different, but they all had a message on bible prophecy. A few years later another much larger, yearly prophecy conference began, which was organized by Jan Markel. She also featured a weekly radio program with a special guest. That was especially helpful to me, and it also encouraged me to read and study prophecy subjects and passages on my own. Eventually, I became confident enough to push forward with a book: Biblical Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I found out first hand that you learn more from your own personal study than by just listening to a message.

Another area of my life that I started working on was the area of my sexual purity. The year was 2003. I heard about this event called National Coalition for Purity Rally from a flier that I received in the mail. And so, I decided to check it out. The main speaker was quite dynamic and he made the bold claim that anyone could master their own purity. They defined purity in three ways: no pornography, no sexual fantasy, and no masturbation. Well, since I could use help in all those areas I decided to join. I signed up for their boot camp, which was followed by weekly purity platoons. Surprisingly, right away I felt a new spiritual power help me in all areas of purity.  The power I was convinced came from the Holy Spirit moving through the unified prayers of all the guys in the group, as well as from the Scriptures we were learning and memorizing. It was dynamic.  I stayed with that group for about ten years. I have to admit that I am not as pure as I once was, but at least I know that with enough prayer power and with sufficient quality time in the word, it is possible to achieve any level of purity that I set my heart to.

A third area of growth in my life has been in the area of prayer—group prayer as well as personal prayer. It is important to have your own personal, private, daily prayer time—mine is in the morning; but I sense the most powerful prayer results come in group prayer when you are praying together in agreement and in unity. The devil will constantly try to break up your prayer group, but fight against him. Find ways to pray together. I look for every opportunity available. These days small groups have been so helpful to me, especially in the area of prayer.

My Next Book: After the Rapture

Almost immediately after I published Biblical Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, I began working on my next book, After the Rapture: What Happens On Earth and In Heaven After the Rapture. I am almost finished with the book. I only have a little bit of the last chapter left and the introduction—I always leave the intro until last. I am so excited to get this book published. I think it is my best writing.  It flowed off my pen more than the previous books, and without much rewriting or editing. Also, it is more controversial, and allows for more guesswork. In other words, I go beyond what the Scripture gives us. I start with the Scriptures and then I make a good, educated guess at how things will play out. I put my imagination to work.

Okay, here is a rundown of the book, chapter by chapter. I begin in just three or four pages, describing what it will be like just before the Rapture. Much of it is what is going on right now: false prophets, evil, wars, famine, and lawlessness.

I outlined the book in two parts, part one is On Earth After the Rapture, in ten chapters; and part Two is In Heaven After the Rapture, in just two chapters. I begin the first chapter by describing what I think will be the immediate effects of the Rapture. I go fast and furious through this chapter, first describing automobile and airplane accidents, but I also talk about people’s fears and panic and grief and rioting. We know all about rioting, but it will be much worse than what we are experiencing now.

In chapter two I will talk about the different theories that will emerge as to why so many people have disappeared—especially in the more Christian countries like Kenya and the United States (and a few others). Of course, this is all guesswork on my part; but some ideas have already been expressed in writing. New Agers have written much on this. Here I delve into some very bizarre things such as alien abductions and parallel dimensions.

In chapter tree I discuss the probable collapses; economic, institutional, government and moral.

In chapter four through eight I write on the rise of a new global government, a new global religion, and the Antichrist. Many, I am aware, think that these things will not happen until the Tribulation period, but I argue that they will begin to happen in the period between the Rapture and the Tribulation, which is why I think that that period could be as long as ten years. It will be a very tumultuous time, seeing so much evil; yet for some, a very exciting time seeing so many changes take place all under the banner of unity (a false unity)—a world unified government and a world unified religion.

In chapter nine I talk about the Ezekiel Invasion (from Ezekiel 38-39). Many place this war during the Tribulation, but I see it happening just before the Tribulation, and I give my reasons.

Chapter ten covers the very exciting topic of the third temple. I discuss here how all the articles are already made and ready for use. I discuss the building progress but also the obstacles of the progress.

Then in chapter eleven I begin part two on what transpires in heaven after the Rapture. Here I point out that we will first face the Bema, which is when all we who have been raptured will be judged according to our works, whether good or bad.

The last chapter is on the Marriage of the Lamb, our marriage to Christ. Many will disagree with me here, but I argue that our marriage to Christ will be patterned after the typical Jewish wedding. And the reason for their disagreement is because it will set forth a biblical proof of the Rapture.

Now in a typical Jewish wedding ritual, after the groom establishes the marriage covenant with the bride, he then returns to his father’s house to prepare a place for the bride, but promises that he will soon come again to get her and take her to be with him in his father’s house. 

The key biblical passage here is John 14:2-3, where Jesus tells His disciples, “I go and prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This passage, as you can see, follows the pattern of the Jewish wedding, and it is unmistakably, also what happens at the Rapture of the church.

Well, like I said, I am not quite finished with the book, but I will be very soon. I anticipate it to be published maybe by Christmas, 2020.

My Writing: Rewriting and Writing More

I’m not sure exactly what I expected in terms of sales for my books. I thought that I would get some sales, at least for my e-books that I was selling on the Lulu website for just two or three dollars. But nothing! —for months and months. Finely, I decided to make them free. That way at least people wouldn’t have the excuse of not being able to afford them. Well, right away people were starting to order the free e-books. And I felt better, because now the books were at least getting out there.

I know there is a lot more I could do to sell my books, but I hate that part of it—the marketing part, which takes money, something I don’t have. But maybe someday. In the meantime, I will just keep writing. My first project was to rewrite, or edit my prayer books. After reading a few chapters I realized there was so many things I could improve on—ways to make the writing better, clearer. My mom told me that I repeat myself a lot. She was right. My roommate James also mentioned that I use the words thus, therefore and hence far too much. He was right too. Then I found a book by William Zinsser entitled On Writing Well. I learned so much from his book about how not to be so wordy, to say things in less words. So anyway, I went over my book (and that also included my six smaller books), and in just about every paragraph I found something to change. Basically, the content remained the same, I just did some editing that made it read better. It took about a year.

After that I was eager to move on to my next project. I chose the subject of bible prophecy. That entire field has intrigued me for many years, and I really wanted to write a book about it, particularly on the subject of the rapture of the church. I have been a big proponent of the pre-tribulation rapture, and I was ready to lay out the biblical evidence for that view. Even before doing any work on the subject I decided that the title of the book would be, Biblical Evidence of a Pre-tribulation Rapture.

The book was outlined in four parts. In part one, in four chapters I lay out the ground work for the rapture. I describe it from key Scripture passages, including from Daniel 9:24-27. I also talk about Israel and the church, particularly the false teaching of replacement theology.

In part two, I decided to take a detour from the rapture study and look briefly at the kingdom of God—the Millennium. I thought it would be good for the reader to get the big picture of what God would be doing in the future, especially for the Jews. That was a great study. In fact, I got so into it that I decided to make a separate book from it, which I entitled The Coming Millennial Kingdom. Wow! What a detour that was. So, what I did for part two was to just write an abbreviated version of that book.

Part three is basically a bible study of all the Scripture verses of both the rapture and the second coming, which I refer to as two phases of His coming. The first phase is the rapture, and the second phase is His second coming to the earth to set up His kingdom. I concluded from the study that there are 29 verses that refer to the rapture, and 34 verses that refer to the second coming. I also found 16 characteristics of the rapture and 16 characteristics of the second coming. I remember that I thought it was so profound to find 16 characteristics for each phase of His coming.

In part four I show why the rapture must come before the tribulation. First, I give 19 reasons why the pre-tribulation view is the correct view. Then in the last chapter I look at four conflicting views and offer my rebuttal. The four views are: the partial rapture theory, the mid-tribulation rapture theory, the pre-wrath rapture theory, and the post-tribulation rapture theory.

At first, I admit that I was a little afraid of doing this study, thinking that my view in my mind would be weakened. But the reverse was true. I was able to very easily bring a good rebuttal to each and every point. None of their views hold any water. I found that the only view that is biblically correct is the Pre-Tribulation view.